Sutta Nipāta

Kasī-Bhāradvāja Sutta

1.4. The Farmer Bhāradvaja

Thus have I heard:

At one time the Radiant One was dwelling among the Magadhans at South Mountain near the brahmin village of Ekanāḷā. Now at that time the brahmin Kasī-Bhāradvāja had five hundred ploughs fastened to their yokes at the time of “planting”. Then in the morning the Radiant One dressed and, taking bowl and robe, went to the place where the brahmin Kasī-Bhāradvāja was working.

As that time the brahmin Kasī-Bhāradvāja’s food distribution was happening. Then the Radiant One approached the place for the distribution of food and stood to one side. The brahmin Kasī-Bhāradvāja saw the Radiant One standing for alms and said to him:

“Samaṇa, I plough and plant, and when I have ploughed and planted, I eat. You too, samaṇa, ought to plough and plant; then when you have ploughed and planted, you will eat.”

“But I too, brahmin, plough and plant, and when I have ploughed and planted, I eat.”

“But we do not see Master Gotama’s yoke or plough or ploughshare or goad or oxen; yet Master Gotama says, “I too brahmin, plough and plant, and when I have ploughed and planted, I eat.”

Then the brahmin Kasī-Bhāradvāja addressed the Radiant One in verse:

A ploughman, so you claim to be
but we see not your ploughmanship.
If you’re a ploughman, answer me,
make clear your ploughmanship!

“With faith as seed and practice,
rain and learning as my yoke and plough;
my plough-pole, conscientiousness,
memory, goad and ploughshare both.

My body’s guarded, so is my speech,
Restrained is my belly’s food,
The act of Truth is my cutting-off,
Gentleness is my release.

My harnessed ox is energy—
draws safe for yoking’s end,
goes to where no sorrow is
and turns not back again.

In this way is my ploughing ploughed
towards the crop of Deathlessness—
who finishes this ploughing’s work
from all dukkha will be free.

Then Kasī-Bhāradvāja had a large bronze bowl filled with milk-rice and brought to the Radiant One. “May it please Master Gotama to eat the milk-rice, Master Gotama is a ploughman, since he does the ploughing that has the Deathless as its crop.”

Chanting sacred verses for comestibles
is not done by me;
for those who rightly See, Brahmin,
it accords not with Dharma.
Chanting sacred verses thus
is rejected by the Buddhas,
such is the Dharma, Brahmin,
such is their practice.

A great seer with Final Knowledge, conflicts stilled.
one who has exhausted taints, is wholly free—
make offerings of food and drink to such a one:
the certain field for one who merit seeks.

When this was said the brahmin Kasī-Bhāradvāja exclaimed to the Radiant One: “Magnificent, Master Gotama! The Dharma has been clarified by Master Gotama in many ways, as though he was righting what had been overturned, revealing what was hidden, showing the way to one who was lost, or holding a lamp in the dark so that those with eyes could see forms. I go for refuge to Master Gotama, to the Dharma and to the Saṅgha of bhikkhus. May Master Gotama remember me as an upāsaka who from today has gone for Refuge for life.”